Friday, June 26, 2009

Students mark World Anti-Drugs Day with 200 posters in Myitkyina

by KNG

Students marked the World Anti-Drugs Day of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under the United Nations today with 200 hand-written posters in Myitkyina, the capital of Burma's northern Kachin State. They demanded that the military junta make Kachin State a drug free state, student activists said.

Burma is the world's second largest opium producing country, according to the UNODC.

A-4 size papers pasted by the students carried two slogans --- "Drug free zone" and "No elections 2010", said Shadang Tu Awng, who organized this morning’s movement.

Shadang Tu Awng said, the posters were pasted on roadside electric poles, walls in seven main quarters in Myitkyina--- Yuzana, May Myint, Shatapru, Myothit, Ayeyar, Tatkone (Dapkawng in Kachin) and Du Kahtawng (or Du Mare) including State High Schools in these quarters.

The posters were also put up on the walls in front of the Government Education College and Office of the Township Director of Education, added Tu Awng.

The idea of pasting posters was to highlight the students demand to the ruling junta to make Kachin State a drug free state, another student activist Shadang Naw Naw said.

Several Myitkyina University students took part in this morning’s poster movement in the town. It was organized by the All Kachin Students' Union (AKSU), an underground student organization based in Kachin State, said student activist Tu Awng.

Today the Thailand-based Kachin News Group (KNG) also released a first mini drug report on Kachin State titled "Authorities feed on heroin epidemic in Hpakant" (Read report here).

The report pointed out that the junta allows the rampant use of all kinds of drugs in Hpakant jade mining area in Kachin State where fortune seekers from the whole of Burma come. Most jade miners and workers of jade mining companies are into drugs.

The report also pointed out that Myitkyina University once known as the "Center of learning is now a heroin haven" because students have drugs freely inside in the campus. The Myitkyina-based MDM (Medicin Du Monde – France) has placed a 'Waste Bin' in the university toilet for intravenous drug users among students for discarding used syringes.

The junta's Northern Command or Kachin State Commander Brig-Gen Soe Win has promised that he will completely eradicate drugs in the state during his tenure. However, locals said drug users and distributors are having much more of a free run than during the tenure of his predecessor Maj-Gen Ohn Myint.

Residents of Manhkring quarter in Myitkyina said, they do not go to the nearby bank of the Irrawaddy River (Mali Hka in Kachin) and crop fields near the river because they are scared of hurting their feet on the abundance of syringes littered in these places.

At the moment, in the big prison in Zion (also pronounced Zee Lon) quarter in Myitkyina, most prisoners related to drug cases are Kachins. Some of the prisoners are being sent to the frontline as porters in the current war with the Karen National Union (KNU) near Thailand-Burma border, said prison sources.

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